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Public Works wants hazard and flood mapping across Bahamas

Melanie Roach.

The Ministry of Public Works is working on having hazard and flood mapping done on every inhabited island in The Bahamas, as well as creating land use plans for New Providence and Andros, Director in the Ministry of Public Works Melanie Roach said yesterday.

Roach, who was a speaker at a Bahamas Society of Engineers lunch meeting at The Balmoral, said the flood mapping will not be a cheap exercise, but it is necessary for Bahamians to know whether or not they live in a safe zone.

“Dorian was a hurricane of teachable moments for The Bahamas,” Roach said.

“We learned what we should and should not do for these monster storms.

“We’re looking at hazard and flood mapping for every inhabited island of The Bahamas. You need to know whether you are in a relatively safe zone or whether you need to be evacuated. These are critical. We are trying to work with various agencies to get that accomplished.”

She said the Department of Physical Planning is working to develop physical land use plans for New Providence and Andros and eventually for the wider country, “giving persons the critical information they need to make decisions on where and how they build”.

Roach explained that much of the government infrastructure stood up well to the Category 5 forces of Dorian.

She said the country has been building better and complimented the resiliency of the Fishing Hole Road bridge and a new sea wall at Smith’s Point in Grand Bahama.

Roach said the approaches to Fishing Hole Road, which were washed away, will be reconstructed stronger with concrete in order to withstand future storms. She added that the Little Abaco causeway will be replaced with a stronger bridge that will span 260 feet and allow water to pass under.

“We are building better,” she said. “That is the type of construction we will be doing going forward. If they are done well and done properly, they seem to stand up to the wind forces.”

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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